Mumbai to New Jalpaiguri: Guwahati Express – A hellish train journey

My intention of writing this blog is to make people aware of my experience of travelling to New Jalpaiguri from Mumbai by train. I love Indian trains and always travel by them. I always consider them clean and well-maintained. But I felt I must share this experience so that people don’t make the mistakes I committed.

I took the Guwahati Express from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Mumbai all the way to New Jalpaiguri. I was super excited as this would be my first trip to Sikkim and the Eastern Himalayas. Little did I know that my bubble of excitement was just about to pop.

Bumpy Ride

The train journey was not pleasant; it takes more than 40 hours which was very tiring. We arrived at New Jalpaiguri at 1 o’clock in the night and had to sit all through the night in the waiting room. We got a taxi at 4 a.m. I had been so excited to get a glimpse of the mountains all my life and when I actually got the chance, I was snoozing in the taxi (I was dead tired as I hadn’t slept for 2 days).

Co-passengers

The train was full of people travelling without a ticket. There were more than 5 people occupying one berth. People try to occupy your seat without your permission and behave as if they own the train. My 2 friends and I were the only ladies in our compartment. Thankfully, the men adjacent to us were helpful and decent. But the rest of them were staring and ogling shamelessly. We had to literally scream and yell at them. I have to admit I was damn scared. I was feeling so uncomfortable I couldn’t even sleep.

Basic amenities

There was no water on the 2nd day and no electricity in the evening of the 1st day. We disembarked at Itarsi station and had to pester the Station Master to get the electricity restored. Imagine not being able to brush your teeth, wash your hands and use the lavatory for the whole day. We had to manage with mineral water. The toilets were filthy and the washbasin had been blocked with the gutkha and paan spat all over it.

Staff

The T.C. has no work on this train; because more than 70% of the people are travelling ticketless. The staff selling food and water is insolent and uncooperative. My friend asked a seller to help her by giving the change of Rs 500. He had thousands of rupees in his hands but did not give her the change. It’s okay if you can’t give it but at least say so politely.

bagdogra

So I would advise you to please go by air to Bagdogra and take a taxi or bus from there. I booked my return ticket by flight on the train itself. You can avail of the basic amenities like food, water, a clean lavatory, and so on. I mean, you can wash your hands in the plane. Safety, comfort, and cleanliness come first!

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